(I wrote so much about Avengers: Endgame I’m splitting it into a series of posts)
Standardised beginning because I don’t care if the spoiler ban has been officially lifted. This was THE movie, the movie that ended the journey we started ten years ago and I would literally die if I accidentally spoiled anyone.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!
I’m going to put everything under the cut but in case it doesn’t work for some reason. Seriously don’t read beyond this point if you haven’t seen the movie. Anyway now that’s established let’s dive in 🙂
The beginning of the movie
Before I delve too deeply into what is my utter jam – aka intense theorycrafting about world and characters – I just want to deal with the movie as a whole. Now I love the marvel movies a hell of a lot but loving something doesn’t make them perfect and that beginning was rocky. Speaking as somebody who has revised and revised the hell out of stories, and then gone back and looked at them with fresh eyes a year or two later I can see what happened. They were trying so hard to get the movie down to a reasonable length, that they were cutting scenes everywhere they could, which is why the teased scene of Captain Marvel arriving at the compound answering her pager and going “where’s Fury?” wasn’t in the movie. The problem with this heavily, heavily cut beginning, is that the directors knew about all those scenes on the cutting room floor, so the jaggedness probably didn’t occur to them, because their brains were smoothing it out as they knew what happened in between – we don’t! I mean we do a little bit (for instance that teased scene) but as basically fresh eyes, when I watched the beginning of Endgame I was wincing as it was far too choppy.
The beginning needed to be longer. I know ‘establishing scenes’ get a bad rap but they exist for a reason. They should have left Captain Marvel’s appearance at the compound in, and then cut to later in the day at the tail-end of catching her up with them wondering about who was left. Now space is vast so how would Captain Marvel find the Milano dead in space? Answer is she wasn’t looking for Tony – she was doing Rocket a solid and seeing if the Guardians of the Galaxy had survived (who she must have heard of, given the reason Carol made for not being around on Earth was “lots of planets had problems, and they didn’t have you guys” made Captain Marvel basically a Guardian of the Galaxy too – same kind of territory). Rocket knew that ship very well and there was probably an emergency beacon or tracker or something. Tony being on that ship with Nebula was just happenstance in terms of finding him. Now I’ve just reasoned this out but having some kind of hint, a sentence or two on screen, would have eased the jagged choppy nature of the beginning.
Now the Asgard!
The good, I mean the utter fantastic and huge surprise as I didn’t know at all – Valkyrie. I think if you read other posts I made pre-Endgame a recurring theme was that Asgard got a raw deal. The Warriors Three died unceremoniously with Thor not even mentioning it in Thor: Ragnarok, Sif had dropped off the face of the universe never to be even mentioned, Hela went through Asgard’s army like they were made of tissue, there were maybe a hundred or so on the bifrost evacuated by ship? Then Thanos cut the ship in half. It certainly seemed to me that Thor might well be the only survivor, there was no hint in Infinity War that any of his people survived, so having New Asgard be a thing with Valkyrie was a relief – I’d been worried about the poor Asgard people who had just disappeared.
The bad? Well Thor’s grief was understandable, I 110% get his mental state. The very axis of his world had been attacked, he had no way to know where North was. Odin’s lies and Hela was a huge deal and would be enough to make Thor doubt himself on his own. After all he was the sworn protector of Asgard and the nine realms, but look how Odin achieved that empire, was his protection just interference? Did they want his help or was he stomping all over them with what he thought was best? Weighty issues that Thor was given zero time to deal with because of Thanos dusting half the universe. From the very first Thor movie, he’s a guy that isn’t afraid to fight, he’s a bit like Steve Rogers in that he can “do this all day” and he’ll dig deep and fight and fight but when the battle was lost, when there wasn’t anything more to fight? Battle can be a distraction and trying to pick up the pieces afterwards, the guy drowned and I get it.
You know what I’m circling round to – the fat suit, the jokes, the “eat a salad” quip, they could (and SHOULD) have cut all of that, substituted a bit of sympathy because everyone copes in their own way, and then had more screentime for the beginning which I’ve just complained was choppy and needed extending to smooth. Thor had been through enough, he’d been through too much, his mother noted “the future hasn’t been kind to you” and that was the tack they should have taken. I understand that there’s such a thing as banter, and sometimes mockery is like teasing between team-mates. I personally think it’s horrible but it is an unfortunate reality of how people treat one another. I just think the Avengers should have been better than that.
Oh and as for that Pegasus in the Endgame battle – that was not on the evacuation ship. Valkyrie’s original Pegasus died in the battle against Hela. There may or may not have been more Pegasus’s (Pegasi?) on Asgard when it went boom. Truthfully I don’t like to think about what went boom during Ragnarok (I mean did Heimdall really get every single last Asgardian? there were none hiding in their homes?) but anyway there are nine realms. I rather imagine there’s a Pegasus breeding farm on one of them. When they came down from space to set up New Asgard, they had nothing but the clothes on their backs and whatever they might have managed to carry out by hand. They definitely did a drive-by for some home comforts. I mean Hogun from the Warrior’s Three wasn’t Asgardian, he was actually from Vanaheim, so I just think that some of the nine realms were close with Asgard.
The MIA Captain
Captain Marvel’s complete absence up until the final battle (and a late entrance at that). I mean they had her number because Natasha talked to her, so why didn’t they call and tell her about the time travel idea, and then wait five minutes for her to turn up? Surely if you’re doing something crazy it would be good to have the big guns on side, or just generally everybody on board. My outside-universe speculation is that they wanted Avengers: Endgame to be about the past – about the original six – and if Captain Marvel was here Captain Marvelling over everything, being the badass hero, then it might have cast a long shadow. Captain Marvel is the future of the marvel movies, she needed to shine, but not overshadow hence her vanishing act. Now I don’t like outside-universe explanations but to be honest I’m at a loss as to why they didn’t call her. I mean maybe they did which is why she turned up for the final battle but it’s not like they were in a major hurry, they could have waited a day or two on the time travel.
Speaking of small inconsistencies
All those magic portals were very badass for everyone just appearing so there were two massive armies at the end. I loved Wong’s line of “what you wanted more?” but 1) how was everyone ready for the fight? Sure I’m guessing that the dusted people in Wakanda returned to where they were, and they’d been in the middle of a battle and so were therefore ready, but everyone else? 2) Pepper as Rescue was incredible (I said more about this in the post about Tony and Pepper), but her appearance and Hope as the Wasp, they were presumably both in different places (the lakehouse and that random rooftop in California) and so how did they get magic portals from there?
How would Doctor Strange (or all those other wizards) know where to find them, or even that they existed to be found? Fantastic visual. Logic not found. I mean I suppose you could say that Doctor Strange knew stuff because of all the time-shifting he did with all those 14 million potential futures (crazy large number btw) but I also want to know how come he can do magic portals across the universe? I mean I googled it afterwards and it is a dimensional rift but it takes a lot of focus to cross the world, going from deep in space? Mmm really?
Ok now a little rant I’m sorry because I have feelings.
THAT WASN’T THEIR THANOS!!!
Ok excuse the caps but that final battle, the “it’s been five years, they need us!” like seriously badass huge fight scene, crazy huge with the two armies, but that Thanos was not their Thanos – they had already killed the bad guy! So Doctor Strange with his ‘one reality in which they win’ had them fighting Thanos twice? I’m sorry that I’m a little stuck on this but it’s like the age-old “they did it to themselves” because Thanos was dead. Half the universe was gone but the danger had passed.
I know, I know, they needed to get all the dusted people back and Thanos wasn’t part of that. If it hadn’t been for Nebula somehow across-space having signal interference with her past self, then there would have been no huge battle. It was supposed to be a time heist, steal the stones, get the dusted people back, return the stones so as not to doom alternate realities – job done. Maybe I’m just so bothered by it because Tony had to snap his fingers, and turn Thanos armies to dust, and then he died (more about that later). You know what that actually probably just is it. Because Thanos from 2014 finding out their plans, and then travelling to the future, and then that big battle – that wasn’t their fault. They never intended to bring Thanos back, it wasn’t like the first battle was so much fun they decided to do it again.
I’m just stuck because yeah the battle was a cool massive set-piece, and yeah I can see how it happened because of Nebula. They had no way of knowing that Nebula’s wires would cross. Without Pym particles I don’t really understand how Thanos travelled to the future but perhaps it was like a wormhole rift thingy, once the team had established the connection between their team and 2014, there was a link, a bridge so to speak. So yeah ok they came through and I don’t know my brain is just screaming that it was unnecessary even though I can understand how the story went there. I guess maybe I’m just in denial about Tony having to die. I kinda went a lot more into everything Tony in my other post.
To finish this utterly pointless rant, I suppose I’m circling around the fact that they had to have a big battle because it was a ‘big movie’ and so they needed a huge set-piece. I mean big battles have become fairly standard. That’s why they wrote the story the way they did and while I accept the story, and nothing character-wise really was out of character, I can analyse and understand what happened, I still know that they only wrote it that way so they could have the big battle.
If there was no need for a big battle, then there would have been no need for Tony to use the infinity stones. Banner hurt his arm badly using them to reverse the snap but he survived. Sorry I don’t really know what I’m screaming about here. It’s like I accept it but I don’t like it because I hate character death. I don’t like finality. I have always preferred endings where you can imagine the characters going on, having the same sort of adventures, we just don’t get to see it. Going into the movie I was prepared that Tony might die. I figured it was him or Steve, I knew somebody would die. I didn’t want it to be Tony and I was blindsided by Natasha. Two of my favourites killed off.
I just have feelings I guess.
Anyway moving on from the screaming
I was talking with a friend the other day about Thanos and how he was a complete moron. They said (and I hope they don’t mind me paraphrasing them here) that they would have found all the death and destruction easier to deal with if Thanos had made sense. As it stands Thanos killed off more than half the universe because of all the car crashes, plane crashes, surgeon dusting partway through an operation, all the kids left unattended etc. the list goes on. Then there’s the beloved characters of course that died pre-snap which never got brought back. I’ll be going more into the consequences of the five year gap between the snap and reversing it later, but suffice to say it’s a problem. Anyway, I said that I thought Thanos being an idiot was kind of the point.
The thing with Thanos is that on the surface there is a perverse logic. After all basic math does say that if resources are finite, then if you are dividing a pie between two people rather than four, then those two people will get a bigger share. So Thanos does pass the basic ‘villain logic’ test in that he’s not just evil for evils sake. He had this belief that he was right, he thought he had this destiny – he’s not a cardboard cutout villain. BUT he is still a complete moron for many many reasons but chief among which is people breed. You only have to look at the worlds population, it has increased exponentially in recent years.
- During the 20th century alone, the population in the world has grown from 1.65 billion to 6 billion.
- In 1970, there were roughly half as many people in the world as there are now.
- (source – https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/)
look I did googling! Anyway if we can double the worlds population in 50 years, how long is Thanos and his permanent snap solution really going to hold? There’s the potential of being right back where we started within a lifetime. Anyway so Thanos is an idiot – established! But what is my point again? Oh yeah, my point is that Thanos being an idiot is kinda the point. Villains have to make sense to a point because the villain themselves needs to believe in what they are doing. However, again look at Earth and terrorists and murderers and other horrific criminals – what they do doesn’t make sense either. Terrorists often claim to have an agenda but then they kill innocent people and how does that help? Thanos is cut from the same cloth.
What Thanos inflicted on the universe was a tragedy, it was awful. All those people dead as a side effect of the snap, all those people whose lives were irrevocably altered because of the snap, both those who survived it and those who came back a changed world – nobody wins. Which is a real downer to end this post on. Let me think of something else, oh yeah.
Steve and that hammer
I totally forgot to put this in the post about Steve Rogers, mostly I think because my brain was focused on the fact that I really hoped Steve returned it to 2013 Thor when he gave the reality stone back. Anyway, Steve being worthy to wield the hammer, well this was foreshadowed back in Age of Ultron when it moved a tiny bit. In the movie Thor yells “I knew it!” which I’ve read from other posts speculates that maybe Steve could always lift it but just pretended he couldn’t. However, I don’t agree with that because Steve had no reason to lie and to be honest I think if there was no resistance on the hammer, he would have lifted it before he realised what was happening.
Which means it’s a new development. I wrote a post ages back, I don’t know if I can find it, about how I reckoned Natasha could have lifted the hammer if she had tried. My reasoning for that was speculating about what made Thor worthy (and what Odin felt were worthy attributes). I talked about the slippery slope, about how good people never knew how far they’d go until faced with the decision to cross the line, whereas Natasha was a reformed villain and knew precisely how far she’d go. She’d basically been there, done that, wasn’t going to get corrupted as she’d looked in the abyss and walked away. It’s about the age old question of “how far would you go” I guess and in Endgame that was answered with the “whatever it takes” as Steve decided how far he would go, how much he would risk, how much of his morals he would surrender to get the job done.
I said in my post about Steve that I reckoned he had travelled back to 1949 impulsively and only afterwards realized what he’d done but by then it was too late – it was a one-way trip because he had no Pym particles left. I also said that I reckoned he kept his mouth shut and didn’t interfere in how events played out because he knew he had been selfish, and that he didn’t have the right to play God. Basically as I said he’d drawn his line in the sand, set his markers of here and no further which meant he wasn’t corruptible, he wouldn’t slide into darkness under the guise of “the greater good” because he’d made his choice.
So how did Steve get to this point? Well it was the whole “we don’t trade lives” Vision thing, which had to have a point. They fought, I’m sure many brave Wakandan’s died before the snap, and then ultimately it was for nothing because Vision was killed anyway. His morals of “we don’t trade lives” wound up in abject failure on all counts. It’s like when you watch rescue missions on TV, and an equal or greater number of people on the rescue party die than those who were saved. I always hate that because why are the saved people more worthy of being saved? I think Steve had to confront that. I think he had to take a look at his morals, and see what his principles had cost others.
I mean I think it’s something he should have thought about during Winter Soldier because announcing Hydra over the PA system – blowing up those hellicarriers like that? Hydra were prepared for the coming out party, all the loyal shield agents were completely blindsided. How many good Shield agents died in the fallout? It’s like Natasha said in Civil War “are you sure you want to punch your way out of this one?” Steve confronts things head-on and that has a cost. I said in my post about Tony that losing to Thanos was basically Tony hitting rock-bottom as he had to confront the fact that his genius and his money couldn’t fix everything. Well I think Steve also had to face the fact that “Captain America” couldn’t save the day and what that meant for him and for everything that he had stood for over the years.
So it’s conclusion time!
Hulk was the most visually changed because of the contemplation those five years brought, but they had a profound effect on everyone. I have two more posts after this, one will be the multiverse post in which I go crazy with the speculating – yay! 🙂 and the other is on the future of our reality, which will deal with the consequences of the snap and then reversing it. I’ll also speculate heavily tinfoil hat style on where the marvel movies might go from here.